As we know, the teenage years can be challenging years. What has made this generations challenges a bit more complex is the nature of bullying.
More and more, we are working with teens who have experienced bullying. When a teenager can bully another teenager through social media, they tend to feel freer to be crueler in their bullying.
Bullying is something that is happening far too often in our schools. Gone are the days when there were a few bullies per school who picked on kids but were kept in place by teachers and societal norms.
While technology has its benefits, it also has some downsides. It used to be that being bullied was a thing that happened outside the home. Now with social media, the bully walks through the front doors with your teen when they come home.
As we work with teen depression, teen anxiety, social anxiety, and panic attacks, it's not too uncommon for the teen to talk about experiences they have had with bullying. In these cases, the teenager tends to attribute their current emotional state in part, due to being bullied.
Why Do Teenagers Bully?
Bullying happens when someone directs their hurt, anger, and frustration at another individual. Perhaps the bully feels invisible and is being ignored or hurt by essential people in their lives.
Low self-esteem, difficult home situations, jealousy, and intolerant ways of thinking can be factors in creating a bully. These factors can cause an individual to use bullying to relieve anger or make themselves feel more important by belittling others.
There are as many reasons for bullying as there are bullies.
Why Does Teen Bullying Seem to Be So Common?
Bullying has always been around, but with the creation and popularity of the internet and social media, it has grown out of hand. Teens are unable to escape bullying when they leave school or extracurricular activities. This issue follows them everywhere.
Online stalking is becoming more common, where bullies will follow and harass their victims and refuse to leave them alone at any time.
Another reason for the amped-up bullying occurring can be attributed to more interactions among people. This can lead to attacks on people for what they believe by as bullies know this can be a button that can be pushed to hurt another.
What Bullying Does to a Teenager
Bullying can also lead to the victim becoming a bully in an attempt to take back the power from those who hurt them. Bullied teens begin to find it difficult to trust anyone, and this feeling can last into adulthood.
How to Help Your Teen if They Are Being Bullied
There are ways that as parents, we can help our teenagers if they are being bullied. As a teenager, they are learning how to navigate complex social situations that will prepare them for life as an adult.
One of the more complex social situations is how to deal effectively with difficult people and confrontation. Bullies qualify as difficult people and at times, need to be confronted in a healthy and positive manner.
Your Teenager & Their Rights
Teach your child about their rights as an individual. If your child is being discriminated against and made to feel unsafe, the law is on their side. Hate crimes are illegal. Every teen has the right to feel safe and secure, and free from the threat of violence.
Your teenager has the right to feel physically and emotionally safe at school. Sometimes alerting the proper authorities can help nip this in the bud. Always talk with your teen about this option before taking this step so that they can provide their input and feedback.
Teaching Your Teen to Respond Instead of React
Bullies will find hot topic buttons to push to gain the greatest reaction. It can be hard but teaching your teen to not react can deflate the bully's energy.
When your teen reacts, if adds fuel to the bully's fire. Role-play different scenarios on how to not react to bullies but instead respond. And sometimes a response includes not responding. Ignoring the bully is hard, takes time, but can be an effective route to take.
When Ignoring the Bully Does Not Work
Sometimes the bullying can take on a systemic nature, in the school or online, and continues despite our teenager's best efforts to not add fuel to the fire. In these cases, it's important to help your teen learn how to use their voice.
Role-play different scenarios to assist them in finding their voice and means of asserting their right to be respected.
Monitor Your Teen's Social Media
It is okay, and in fact encouraged, for parents to monitor their teenager's internet use. Ensure that he (or she) is not being threatened or intimidated by others.
Sometimes teens will not talk about being bullied with their parents. They may feel embarrassed to do so. They may also may want their parents to not "over react" which prevents some teens from talking about it.
Should you find that your teen is being bullied, approaching them in a calm but concerned manner is important. Work with the teen in finding a solution that is acceptable to them but also pushes them to practice assertiveness (not aggressiveness) skills.
Teach Your Teen to Trust Their Gut
Above all, teach your teen to trust their intuition. If they are appropriately responding to bullying but realizes that it is not working, let them know that it is ok to change their course of action partway through an interaction.
If your teen is being bullied, contact the appropriate authorities. Depending on the nature of the bullying this could be the school administrators or the police.
If your teen is being bullied, you are their greatest advocate. Use your voice to stand up for your child and be a safe place to land when they need someone to talk to. This will help your teen know that they are important and worth protecting.
See a Teen Therapist Experienced in Providing Teen Counseling
Should the bullying lead to low self-esteem, teen depression, anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety or other emotional challenges, there are teen therapists who can help. Therapists experienced in teen counseling can help your teen through this challenging phase. They can also help your teenager to learn to manage or overcome the emotional challenges caused by bullying.
Katy Teen & Family Counseling: Providing Teen Counseling in Katy, Tx & West Houston
At Katy Teen & Family Counseling, our therapists are experienced in working with teens who have experienced bullying. They can also help your teen overcome the emotional barriers that bullying can create for them in their lives.
The Katy, TX location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling is easy to get to and is conveniently located just off of 99 and I-10.
If you are ready to start teen counseling or young adult therapy, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling
Speak with our therapists experienced in teen counseling
Get the support that you and your teen may need during a difficult time
Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling
At our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we use therapy and counseling approaches that are supported by research. These approaches have been shown to work in the shortest amount of time.
We also offer the following therapy and counseling services:
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)
Group Therapy for Teens
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Support Group for Parents
Parents of teenagers and young adults face unique challenges. The "Parents Supporting Parent's" group at Katy Teen & Family Counseling provides a place where parents can meet with other parents of teenagers and young adults who may be struggling.
Parents will walk away from this group with a greater feeling of support, actionable skills, and even friendships.
About the Author
She enjoys using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) & Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) due to their effectiveness in improving symptoms associated with ADHD/ADD, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, trauma, PTSD, and other challenges.
Read Jheri's full bio here & to schedule an appointment, feel free to use one of the options below.
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call or text us directly at: 346-202-4662